Me, food and the Downtown Eastside

All of you who live in Vancouver know about the protests outside Pidgin, a new restaurant opposite Pigeon Park in the Downtown Eastside. You also know that activists stole the sidewalk sign from the iconic Save-On Meats (which is so absurd to me because the place is called Save-On Meats, for crying out loud, not Whole Organic Yuppie Foods), all in the name of anti-gentrification.

The DTES was my grandfather’s home for the 39 years he lived in Vancouver alone. It was where we shopped for meat and clothes and fire-sale shoes. It is the neighbourhood I return to again and again in my fiction because it is, to me, the geographical genesis of this city. It’s where we all come from, or where we all end up.

The protests, at first, made me angry, then I felt sad. Why? Well, you’ll have to read my feature essay at Hazlitt to find out! I promise you, it’s worth it. I make fun of undergraduates reading The Communist Manifesto. Also, locavore foodies. Come on, it’s too easy. You know it.